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Nava Rajabi

Nava Rajabi on being a League1 Ontario match official

By League1 Ontario staff, 10/03/23, 11:30AM EDT


Rajabi discusses referee training, matchdays, and what keeps her motivated in the game.

Nava Rajabi

Nava Rajabi officiating the 2022 Women's Reserve Division Final

What are your highlights from the 2023 training program and why?

The program overall was a success for me individually, and as a group collectively. Training alone in the winter blues is a challenge overall and getting the opportunity [with the 2023 program] to not only train in an excellent indoor facility but you get to prepare with your fellow colleagues, who are all on the same level and mindset as you which allows you in turn to perform at your highest level and do your job effectively. All the people are dedicated and passionate which gives everyone great confidence when stepping on the field for each game.

What was the biggest thing you learned from the training program?

The training was very valuable in preparing every match official in League1 Ontario to officiate with not only good fitness, but with the correct knowledge and being able to apply it. The videos and group effort in working through real scenarios in games was a very valuable tool to improve on the field for split-second decisions.

What's your pregame meal and why?

Pregame meals vary day to day depending on the activities leading up to the game hour. A good go-to meal is oatmeal, and an omelette. Other days, rice cakes with almond butter, honey and almonds

Please name another L1O official you'd like to work with on a gameday.

Nick Vagenas; he has been a great colleague of mine since we met at an Ontario Summer Games event in 2014. We’ve attended multiple events including the Dallas Cup in Texas and have built a great friendship on and off the pitch.

How did you get into officiating?

At the age of 16 I stopped playing soccer due to injuries. A friend of mine was a soccer referee, so I did some research and realized it was a simple transition to refereeing. It was a two-day entry clinic and before attending, I read the laws of the game cover to cover and fell in love with the job ever since.

What is your earliest officiating memory?

In my first game I officiated I was an assistant to a U12 game, and after the game I received multiple compliments from the parents which further motivated me to learn and improve the craft.

How long has officiating been a part of your life, and what inspires you to continue being a match official?

I have been a match official for eight seasons and continue to pursue a development pathway to improve and officiate at a high level. The uniqueness of being a sport referee is one of many reasons why I have stayed in the profession, but the best part of being a match official is the incredible friendships you build. Some of my greatest friends have been made through refereeing. 

Why should other people become an official?

If you have a passion for the sport of soccer, and have a desire to stay involved in the game in a different and rewarding capacity.